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Sharing thoughts on the eclipse and solstice

This post was written by Elysia
on December 21, 2010 | Comments (11)

Last night a full lunar eclipse occurred, just hours before today’s Winter Solstice. Many people around the world used this auspicious time for ritual, spell work, divination, meditation, and much more.

I was one of them. I made a list of goals and wishes for the new year and focused my intentions with the powerful eclipse and the rebirth of the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere. I surrendered to my beloved dead a list of questions, asking them for greater insight from the other side. I meditated on peace and compassion for our planet. And I did a once-a-year divination using the I Ching.

True, there aren’t many witches who use the I Ching. Most use tarot or runes. But the first divinatory system I learned was divination with crystals, and the method I use is only good for giving readings to others. The second divinatory system I learned, in college, was the I Ching. This is still my favorite method because it takes a lot of the guesswork and ambiguity out of divination. You count out and lay down 49 sticks (with the 50th set aside for Spirit) in a prescribed way, over and over; these numbers lead to the calculation of lines, and the lines build upon each other to form a hexagram – six lines, some of which are open (receptive) and some of which are solid (creative). Then you look up which hexagram it is, and read the meaning from a book.

The I Ching, or Book of Changes, has been passed down for centuries. You don’t need to second guess yourself as in a tarot reading (where one card or symbol could mean a plethora of things and you need to figure it out by context or by intuition), because the meanings and interpretations are right there in the book. All you need to do is open it, read it, and meditate on the meaning for your own life.

I just wanted to share a part of the commentary on the meaning of the hexagram I got last night, number 15, or Modesty. This is excerpted from the Wilhelm/Baynes I Ching book:

It is the law of heaven to make fullness empty and to make full what is modest; when the sun is at its zenith, it must, according to the law of heaven, turn toward its setting, and at its nadir it rises toward a new dawn. In obedience to the same law, the moon when it is full begins to wane, and when empty of light it waxes again.

What better time to read these lines than as the moon goes from full to waning to darkened to waxing to full again, all within the space of a few hours! What better time to reflect on the cyclical nature of light and dark than at the Winter Solstice, when the Sun has reached its lowest point and must therefore now begin to wax!  The commentary goes on to apply this law to nature and to individuals, to remind us that when we’re on top, we must be modest, and when we’re modestly scraping bottom, nature will eventually fill that void for us and change our situation. And that is what witches recognize at the solstice – that just as the light returns, we can build up what we want for the next year, set out our intentions to grow with the waxing sun. The cycle is dynamic and never-ending, there is no such thing as stasis or inertia.

This is just one example of how uncannily accurate the I Ching can be. If you’re interested in just the basics of I Ching, check out I Ching for Beginners by Tarot expert Mark McElroy.

Did you have any shining insights, glowing synchronicities, powerful visions or insightful meditations last night? Please share with us in the comments. Have a Blessed Winter Solstice!

Reader Comments

Written By Kyle
on December 21st, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

Here in New York it was the worst combination of time and weather. It ran from 1:30am until 5am, at the dead of night! And it was FREEZING out! Ha! But I loved it and I’d do it again on a second 🙂
I prepared by coming home from work, doing banishings, and then prepared for a night of performing magick. I prepared amulets, talismans, got my tarot out, and went to bed for a few hours. Then I got up for the show. I was outside probably 2.5 hours that night (the whole time would’ve been hard considering I had work and was working on no sleep and was frozen to the bone!). But it was a great night. I felt such energy and such beauty. It was palpable. It has given me renewed purpose to keep up with my practices and studies. Thanks, Moon! 🙂

Written By Elysia
on December 21st, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

Hi Kyle!
Luckily we have an hour on you in the East Coast, so totality was round 2:17am here instead of 3:17 for you. I stayed up nearly till 2 but there was no break in the clouds whatsoever, so I didn’t actually go outside. (Which is nice, considering we have more than 20 inches of snow on the ground here!) I’m so impressed you braved the elements for such a great time. You’re right, the energy was palpable… even after I went to bed I had dreams of doing magic with all the other people who were doing magic at the same time! Thanks for sharing.

Written By Kyle
on December 21st, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

Hey Elysia!
Thanks for reminding me about something. I totally agree with you that one of the coolest things about the evening was imagining that countless others were doing magick at that very moment; that I was one of many who were waiting for the right minute to add to the growing magickal energy of the night… eyes were on the moon and magicians, diviners, occultists were all “doing their thing” at the same time. And not to mention many others who don’t practice any magickal art or form of occultism who were just out to enjoy a beautiful rarity of nature. It was really nice seeing restaurant workers hurriedly run out of their eateries and doormen run away from their posts at 3am even just for a few minutes and stare completely in awe at the sky.

Written By Teriana
on December 22nd, 2010 @ 11:04 am

I sat in my hot tub and created a circle around the tub calling in the elements and focused on bringing good things into my life – happiness – good health & prosperity…so far I have a new home business, my husband is happier and I found some extra money to apply to groceries (we’re very low on food – tough year) So far – all is good. Wishing peace for all – Blessed be!

Written By Candis
on December 22nd, 2010 @ 11:11 am

I felt a huge surge of “energy” and a multitude spirits.

Written By Tonia
on December 22nd, 2010 @ 11:12 am

I dragged myself out of bed at 2:20AM EST to catch a glimpse of the celestial beauty. The few wispy clouds that had gathered in the sky quickly moved on, providing me with a clear, bright view of the early morning sky full of stars. I couldn’t help but notice how eerily still the air felt. The only sounds were from cars on a nearby major road. Even nature’s children were silent; no insects, no nocturnal critters, nothing. It made for a very surreal and solitary audience for the eclipse. Just as the shadow was reaching totality, I heard a rustling in the treeline. My heart skipped a beat at the sound and I turned very slowly to find the source of the disturbance. As nonchalantly, as if invited to the show, a black cat strolled out of the trees with a mouse clutched between his jaws. He glanced at me and then walked over to sit at the edge of my yard, about 20 feet away from me. He turned loose his prey and played with it for a bit before settling in to sit and watch me. We stayed like that in the front yard, soaking in the beautiful rust ocean spreading over the moon, for what seemed like an eternity. At last I glanced up at the moon for moment and when I looked back, he had disappeared without a sound.

Written By Elysia
on December 22nd, 2010 @ 11:38 am

I love it! A mysterious black cat shows up to join in the magic! It was definitely a powerful, surreal and synchronistic night.

Written By Angela
on December 22nd, 2010 @ 11:41 am

I just sat quietly, calmly and allowed my mind to wander back through the progress made on personal levels in the past year. I then settled down into the wonderful energy last night, and while sending thoughts of thanks, I was presented with a silver star that was placed upon my ‘third eye’.
Bright blessings to all.

Written By Mariana
on December 22nd, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

I live in Mexico, we had a cold but pretty clear night. I, too, went to bed for some hours. Around 1 o’clock I got awake after a very vivid dream by my son, investigating if he could see the moon from my bedroom window. As a Ritual Magician I could tell my dream was full of Moon and Saturn (ruler of Capricorn) symbolism. I was happy since it meant I had already contacted both energies. Got up and I started watching the moon, it could be seen from the kitchen window. The most magical moment was when I realized the growing darkness allowed for fainter and smaller stars to be seen. The sky was filled with them. I closed the day with a special ceremony for the solstice, and feel full of strenght and peace.

Written By dr4lom
on December 22nd, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

I read the I Ching regularly. It’s such a useful oracle. And you’re right about personal readings. At first when I learned the coin method, I would have issues reading for myself because I had difficulty putting myself inside of the reading. It was just easier to read for others. But the yarrow reed method(the one described using the 50 sticks) changed a lot. The meditative quality that comes from the time it takes to build each line from three piles gives you time to reflect on the meaning from the ground up. You can see how the basic elements stack to form the trigrams, it’s very enlightening.

As for the eclipse, I was sad to not be able to witness it in plain site because it was heavily overcast, but it was still a great time to think about moving into the new year and embracing the anticipation of new light and new beginnings.

Written By Candelaria
on December 24th, 2010 @ 2:43 am

I too noticed the eerily stillness of the night! Chicago was cold and wintery, and it had just stopped snowing. I had spent my last $6 on small items to complete my Yule altar. At 1:14AM I wandered out into the snow with a special moon insence lit. I decided to walk around a few blocks, around the perimeter of my apartment, blessing the circle while I called upon the elementals and quarters. I picked off some evergreen from trees along the way and left the insence outside on a tree as an offering to the moon. I finished with a prayer to the moon, then went inside to prepare for my full moon ritual around 2:30AM. I went in, lit the candles on my altar, wrote out some goals for the new year, and placed them in my notebook, as this made for a great time for reflection. I took some time to stand still before my candles, my mind clear the whole time. I slept calmly, and had great dreams. I too felt protected by the spirits of the night. The following days, I determined that perhaps this particular solstice was more significant than the the solstice on 2012, because the planet alignments were more specific the other night than they will be during the 2012 solstice. In addition, I determined that perhaps, we crossed over to the “shift” that everyone has been talking about, and that all of humanity needed to make a choice on this night, a choice that would involve moving forward and evolving toward Spirit, or keeping paradigms the same. I noticed a lot of people were angry the next day (friends even wrote to me that they were “sick”), and I thought, “Well, I feel quite opposite. I feel great!” I think those of us who “get it” crossed over in this shift, and others “stayed behind.”

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